As a mediator, one of the things I tell my clients in preparation for the mediation is this. At some point during the mediation, you’ll probably think that you’re not progressing towards a resolution. You may feel discouraged or angry. I’ve even had clients say to me, in front of the other party, that they don’t think the mediation is progressing and they want to quit. Sometimes they even get up to leave.
While not everyone feels this way during mediation, or gets up to leave, it’s normal to feel as though you and the other party aren’t progressing towards a resolution. That doesn’t mean you aren’t, and it doesn’t mean you won’t come to a resolution.
All it means is that you’re working hard to resolve the dispute. You may be talking about issues you haven’t talked about before. You may be getting new information from the other person. You may even realize that you contributed to the dispute more than you thought, or that the other person didn’t do something you thought they did.
The mediator is there to help you resolve the dispute as effectively and civilly as possible. The mediator will help you talk about the issues, exchange information that’s relevant to resolving the dispute, and to assess what’s fair in the situation.
Just remember, at some point the dispute will be over. Most of the time, you and the other person will come to an agreement that will specify what each of you will do to resolve the conflict, and when everything will be finished. You should also have a back-up clause in the agreement that will specify an alternate resolution in case something happens that makes the original one infeasible; life always happens.
So if you’re ready to quit, don’t. Stay in the mediation, work on the dispute, and let the mediator help you get the best possible resolution.